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Learn To Code in an Hour

04 Oct

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I was fortunate enough to be able to have the Decoded Team visit the school and give a one hour workshop, which took 10 grade 9 girls from Roedean and 10 boys from St John’s on a whirlwind tour of learning to code.

They started by getting the students to follow an algorithm, got them to negotiate the Blockly Maze and then hacked the school website (in the local tab at any rate). They ended up by getting the students to design a quick website using JSFiddle deploying HTML, CSS and some JavaScript!

Not bad for an hour!

DSC00171Students were greatly excited, especially when they “hacked” CNN! They also learned a great deal, I think, about their own ability to create something worthwhile in a very short space of time. Most of this group had previously done some JavaScript in my class (creating a quiz), but the buzz they seemed to get from hacking a website was something quite special – and a clear lesson, for me at any rate, in how to engage students. It’s a trick I will certainly copy!

Important as I believe learning to code is, for me the main aim should be to embed coding within the curriculum. Kids should be coding in Maths, coding in Geography, coding in English! Not just in their IT lessons. While Maths teachers will probably immediately see applications, I’m sure that not many English teachers are reading this right now, and sitting up and crying “Eureka!” So I’d better explain myself!

With  a few skills students can easily create applications that are fun and challenging to make, but can deal with any content area. You can create quizzes, for example around any subject content, be it Science, Literature or History. You can create drag and drop flash games about parts of the body or French vocabulary! You can create mobile apps, webpages, or games dealing with anything under the sun.

I’m not suggesting that every lesson needs to involve creating games or coding, but I am suggesting that we should be seeing a great deal more of this sort of thing across the curriculum. I believe it would help students take ownership of their own learning, and help build their sense of mastery at being able to manipulate content in meaningful ways instead of passively consuming content.

We need to start hacking the curriculum, and taking ownership of it in ways that engage our full creativity and power to make meaning.

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5 Comments

Posted by on October 4, 2013 in Coding For Kids, Pedagogy

 

5 responses to “Learn To Code in an Hour

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